A Family Secret
La Secret de Ma Mere
Canada, 2006, 86 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Comedy, Drama, Family Issues
Language: French English Sub-Titles
On a wintry New Year's Day, Jos's friends and family gather in a Quebeçois funeral parlor to pay their last respects. But it's not long before hushed decorum gives way to irrepressible spirit, rites to revelations, in French-Canadian director Ghyslaine Côté's bittersweet comedy A Family Secret.
Rallying round his ex-wife Blanche and their daughter Jeanne, Jos's would-be mourners transform a sad occasion into a celebration as they begin to regale one another with anecdotes of the deceased that range from the tear-jerking to the side-splitting to the downright absurd (after all, it's painfully – make that amusingly – clear that not all the elderly guests have a full grasp of the situation at hand). Flashbacks anchor their reminiscences, situating the ups and downs of family history in relation to the ebb and flow of Canadian history. Taking it all in, Jeanne begins to discern the formation of a big picture – one she's never seen. When the last piece falls into place, the secrets it reveals permanently alter the images of everyone in it – including Jos, Blanche and herself.
With the help of a seasoned cast from whom she elicits suitably warm, witty and wise performances, Côté manages to couch grave existential matters in humorously humanistic terms: what, and who, makes us us? What is the nature of loss? And what, by losing, do we stand to find?
In person – Ghyslaine Côté
Sponsored by Quebec Government Office in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Film & TV Office, French Embassy
DIRECTOR: Ghyslaine Côté
Producer: Maxime Rémillard, André Rouleau
Editor: Richard Comeau
Screenwriter: Ghyslaine Côté, Martin Girard
Cinematographer: Pierre Mignot
Principal Cast: Ginette Reno, Céline Bonnier, Clémence DesRochers, Marie-Chantal Perron
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